When deciding on a location for a brewery in Miami-Dade, Spanish Marie Brewery's Alby Cespedes didn't want anyone from the suburbs to have to drive an hour to enjoy local craft beer. So he and his business partners chose a space at 14241 SW 120th St. in West Kendall.
This Sunday, March 12, from 3 to 6 p.m., Cespedes will open the brewery for a sneak peek and private tasting to a limited audience of 500.
As construction begins next week on the 2,500-square-foot space, Cespedes is seeking feedback from the general public. Purple People Eatery food truck will be onsite dishing out grub. Two hundred fifty tickets to this exclusive opportunity remain, and it will most likely be the only brewery event before the grand opening, Cespedes says. The free tickets are available through eventbrite.com.
"It's just a meet-and-greet and tasting for the community, our neighbors, and everybody out in Kendall," Cespedes says. "I want people to see how things are going to be laid out and introduce ourselves."
Four beers will be available this Sunday: 3-12-28 Black IPA, 1926 coffee porter, 3'N'Out APA, and an unnamed special release.
Once the brewery receives approval, brewmaster Jaime Medina will get started with recipes on a seven-barrel system. Cespedes hopes to receive his license as soon as this summer. If the brewery finishes the construction buildout before receiving a brewing license, Cespedes says, he'll simply host guest taps as long as the brewery has a permit to sell alcoholic beverages.
Until then, he says, construction will initially be focused on the 650-square-foot taproom, which he plans to give a speakeasy theme to reflect a period of time when alcohol was forbidden and such places existed only in secret.
Cespedes says the taproom will also be a venue for creativity and variety. He plans to host up to 20 taps, with some pouring experimental beers that won't be available for general distribution.
Depending upon the success of distribution, Cespedes would like to expand fermenter capacity. So far, he says, the beer has been well received since he, Medina, and Robert Pando set out to brew in 2014.
When Spanish Marie debuted at local festivals, it was known for pairing beer with dessert items. Then Cespedes went out on a limb to help ease restrictions for breweries, distilleries, and wineries as part of a new ordinance modification passed by Miami-Dade commissioners December 6.
Cespedes successfully lobbied the government to reduce the minimum amount of space to 1,000 feet between such establishments and schools and churches, which he says dominate industrial spaces in the county. Before the change, it was virtually impossible for anyone to open a brewery in these areas, he says. A bit of research, a map, and some pins were all he needed to prove his point.
"It was one of those things where I had tunnel vision," Cespedes says. "Luckily, the commissioners were super-receptive."
Spanish Marie Brewery's Groundbreaking Tasting
3 to 6 p.m. Sunday, March 12, at Spanish Marie Brewery, 14241 SW 120th St., Miami; 786-780-4872; facebook.com/spanishmarie. Free admission with RSVP at eventbrite.com.
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